Businesses continue to drop their sponsorship deals with the Fresno Grizzlies this week in the wake of a misleading video suggesting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was an “enemy of freedom” to America.
The Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals aired the video between games of a Memorial Day doubleheader in an effort to honor fallen soldiers for their sacrifice and courage. They apologized for Ocasio-Cortez’ inclusion, which resulted in more death threats for the Democratic New York representative, and spent the week watching sponsors pull away.
Heineken-owned beers drop Grizzlies
Dos Equis and Tecate announced Thursday they would not be sponsoring the Grizzlies anymore, per the Los Angeles Times. Both are owned by Heineken.
Tecate wrote a statement to individual Twitter users who asked about the relationship or stated they’d no longer be drinking the beer. The company wrote it has “always been about togetherness” and does not support the airing of the video.
Tecate has always been about togetherness and we do not support the views expressed in the video, that was aired during the Fresno Grizzlies game on Memorial day. We have ended this relationship effective immediately and have let the team know of our decision.
— Tecate (@tecate) May 31, 2019
Dos Equis did the same, stating it was “disheartened to learn of the views expressed in the video” and that it does “not reflect our core values.”
We are disheartened to learn of the views expressed in the video that aired during Monday’s Fresno Grizzlies game, as they do not reflect our core values. We have ended our relationship with the team, effective immediately, and we have informed them accordingly.
— Dos Equis (@DosEquis) May 30, 2019
Heineken International confirmed both via email, per the Fresno Bee. The video featured a speech by former President Ronald Reagan. As he mentions “enemies of freedom,” a photo of Ocasio-Cortez was included with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Ocasio-Cortez responded by explaining how videos such as that lead to death threats to her and her office.
Sun-Maid 1st to leave Grizzlies
The decision by Heineken came a day after Sun-Maid Growers ended its sponsorship, as reported by The Bee.
Sun-Maid’s statement, via The Bee:
“We are deeply disappointed by the Memorial Day tribute video the Fresno Grizzlies aired on Monday. Sun-Maid does not support the views or sentiments expressed in the video, nor does it condone the airing of it.
“While the Grizzlies have apologized for this mistake, we are standing on the side of what we believe is right and terminating our sponsorship of the team.”
A company statement to the Washington Post said its decision is not about politics or any political perspective.
Sun-Maid is notable not only for its name but also for its importance. The company was started in the San Joaquin Valley in the late 1890s and is based 20 minutes down Route 99 in Kingsburg. Per the Post, it announced it would be moving it headquarters back to Fresno.
Nationals, brands stand by team
Other companies told The Bee they did not condone the video, but are not pulling their sponsorships. A Save Mart spokeswoman said they are seeking more information and the GAR Tootelian president said it has “no intention of abandoning a good, long time friend over one mistake.”
The Fresno Bee also declined to immediately pull its 20-year sponsorship given the “incredible force for good in this community,” per publisher Tim Ritchey.
The Nationals told the Washington Post on Thursday they were “comfortable” with the results of an investigation. Per the investigation detailed in the Post, an employee pulled the incorrect version of a video the employee had been using for years. It was not fully watched before it aired.
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